AP Human Geography Unit 4: Religion Vocabulary

Animistic religion

Belief that inanimate objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, like thunderstorms and earthquakes, have a discrete spirit and life. Common in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Native American religions are fundamentally animistic, and even S


The third of the world's major universalizing religions. It has over 360 million adherents especially in China and Southeast Asia. Prince Siddartha (Buddha) had a vision while sitting under the Bodhi (awakening) tree, then founded Buddhism in the 6th c. B

Caste system

a division of society based upon differences of wealth, rank, or occupation


is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament of the Bible. It is the most popular religion in the world (>1.3 billion); three denominations (branches) - orthodox (oldest), catholic (l


Developed by earlier Chinese man Confucius, it's a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought. This is important to HG because it has affected Chinese Civilizations tremendously.


the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland

Ethnic cleansing

the persecution through imprisonment, expulsion, or killing of members of an ethnic minority by a majority to achieve ethnic homogeneity (e.g., Nazi campaign from the 1930s through WWII; Yugoslavia from 1991-1999, Rwanda in 1994; Sudan (Janjaweed in Darfu

Ethnic religion

A religion with a rather concentrated distribution whose principles are likely to be based on the physical characteristics of the particular location where its adherents are located; most religions start off as an ethnic religion.

Feng Shui

literally means "wind water"; Chinese art and science of placement and orientation of tombs, dwellings, buildings, cities. Structures and objects are positioned in a way (often in line with the compass lines) to channel flows of energy in favorable ways.


Created in India, approximately 4,000 years ago with >750 million followers today. Unlike other religions, no single founder or text; heaven isn't always the ultimate goal in life. Third largest in world religion behind Christianity and Islam. Religion is

Interfaith boundary

the boundaries between the world's major faiths, such as Christianity, Muslim, and Buddhism.

Intrafaith boundary

describes the boundaries within a major religion (e.g., Belgium; Switzerland; Northern Ireland is mostly Protestant, whereas the rest of Ireland is mostly Catholic)


(means the submission to the will of god (Allah)). Its a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad in the Qu'ran, a key religious figure in the 6th c. CE. It is the second largest religion in the world (fastest growing due to birth


religion and philosophy originating in ancient India. Stresses spiritual independence and equality throughout all life.


jihad means "struggle" and is a religious duty of Muslims; some can take their "jihad" to an extreme and violent level often against a perceived threat to their way of life or culture


It is the religion of ancient Hebrews, said to be one of the first monotheistic faiths. This is important to HG because many other religions have been based off it.


the force created by a person's actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person's next life will be like.

Monotheistic religion

Belief in one god

Polytheistic religion

Belief in many gods


the idea or belief that people are born again with a different body after death

Religious fundamentalism

A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.


This is the belief that humans should be based on facts and not religious beliefs.


This is the range of traditional beliefs and practices that claim the ability to cure, heal, and cause pain to people.

Shiite (Shiah)

A member of the branch of Islam that regards Ali and his descendants as the legitimate successors to Muhammad and rejects the first three caliphs.


said to be the way of god. It is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion, combining elements of Buddhism and local religions (a syncretic religion). It involves the worship of kami (a god). It was very popular prior to WWII, but has l


is a religion that began in sixteenth century Northern India and locate primarily between India and Pakistan today. The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in V?higur?.


The branch of Islam that accepts the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad.


religion founded by Lao-Tsu and based on his book titles "Book of the Way"; focused on proper political rule and on the oneness of humanity and nature.

Universalizing religion

a religion in which the followers attempt to appeal to all people, and actively seek concerts wherever they may live in the world, not just to those of one culture or location. There are three religions that practice this - they are Christianity, Islam, a


A member of the class that is excluded from and considered unclean and defiling by the four Hindu castes.


a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.


a Persian religion founded in the sixth century b.c. by the prophet Zoroaster, promulgated in the Avesta, and characterized by worship of a supreme god Ahura Mazda who requires good deeds for help in his cosmic struggle against the evil spirit Ahriman